We’re halfway through with National Poetry Month, and we hope you have enjoyed our tips on how to tackle NaPoWriMo! Here are a few more tidbits that will not only help you conquer NaPoWriMo, but continue to fuel your writing for the rest of the year:
1) Carry a Poem with You—April 18th is “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” and ever since the pocket revolution (skirts with pockets, dresses with pockets, even tights with pockets), it has only become easier to fold a poem and carry it around to share with friends and family. Sure, you can still keep your loose change and cellphone snug in there too, but why not balance yourself out with a poem in the other pocket? Check out poets.org’s selection of poems that are sure to fit your pockets.
2) Co-Write a Poem—Reading and writing friends offer support, guidance, and enthusiasm towards your work. But have you ever tried to write a poem with one of your friends? Traci Brimhall and Brynn Saito (who will be visiting San Diego State’s campus April 17th) co-wrote a chapbook, Bright Power, Dark Peace, which is hot off the presses from Diode Editions. Check out their poem “River” and their interview about the process of co-writing at The Collagist.
3) Poems are Not Just Words—Poetry is evolving and responding to more influences than I ever thought could be possible! I’m particularly fond of Bianca Stone’s poetry comics, and am very curious about Michael Zapruder’s Pink Thunder, where poems are not read, but put to music and sung. So just when you thought you were bored in class doodling or humming a tune, you were really writing a poem (good work!).
4) Support Small Presses—Small Press Distribution has a deal where, with this special code, you can get 25% off poetry books! So hurry and fill up your cart from over 5,000 titles before May 1st (you can bet your bottom dollar that this editor did!).
5) It’s Best to Give and Receive Poetry—Tin House magazine was inspired by their poetry editor Matthew Dickman’s blogpost from October 2012 where he asked readers to buy a favorite book of poems and send it to someone who doesn’t read poetry (I’ve done this with my grandmother many, many times). In the spirit of giving, Tin House collaborated with Sarabande Books, Copper Canyon Press, and Milkweed Editions (among many others) to create a Buy One, Give One program (but only for this month!). Some presses allow you to choose the book you give, others already have decided which book will be tied with a bow; regardless, you get a book and still receive the butterflies and joy of giving a book to someone dear and near!
6) Poetry Pops Up in Our Culture—I’m always overjoyed for a poetry pop reference throughout the year (did anyone see the Bates Motel episode where a young Norman Bates had to present a poem and explain why poetry is still relevant? He chose William Blake’s “The Tyger”, fyi). How about using these nifty poetry stamps that you can get from your local post office? My personal favorite is e.e. cummings (who ever knew he was so dashing!).
7) Just Keep Writing—If you did participate in NaPoWriMo, you’re already seeing that poems are happening and becoming real, and this is because you decided to take that pen in your hand or peck at those computer keys. You may have carved out some time to write, so why does that need to change? Keep yourself in this routine. When you don’t feel like writing, read. Either way, you’re feeding your craft, and that’s the whole point of this month: to discover new work, old work, borrowed work, blue work from not only yourself, but other writers.
8) Now, About Those Poems—You have poems varying in length, form, setting, etc. Some of them may need more time, but some of them may only need some tweaks and boom! Poem! Instead of letting it flicker on your computer screen, how about sending it out into the world and seeing it in a magazine! This could feed into your “writing time” (now called “submission time”) that you’ve already established. Plus, have you seen our submission guidelines? Don’t worry, if you have a poem in mind for us and want more time to edit it, we’re accepting through Septemper 1st!
I truly hope you found some riveting tips with us. Let us know what poems you may carry in your pocket, and definitely show us what you’re writing! We hope you continue celebrating not just poetry, but literature, with us.
-Written by Carly Joy Miller